Volume 4, Issue 5 - March 6, 2009

Our Contact Info:

David Butler
Executive Director

National Association of Call Centers
100 South 22nd Avenue
Hattiesburg MS 39401
Tel: 601.447.8300


In Queue circulation 54,205


All leading call center companies and suppliers should examine the NACC Underwriting opportunity in 2009 as evidence of their dedication to the growth of call center industry. See the NACC Advertising Page for more information.

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NACC Investment Portfolio

Original Value start 11/6/2007
=US$90.00 or US$10.00 per stock. Then Nortel went bankrupt so we have adjusted the investment portfolio and now the new start value would be $80.00 or $10.00 per stock.

Total Portfolio Value Now= $38.28 which is down from the last two weeks, below the 50% mark. Which is quite telling given that the Dow has lost over 50% of its value from 14,000 to today as well. This is not to suggest that this is good, or that the call center industry cannot do better, I think it can, but there is a large hole from a publically traded stock point of view from which to climb out. 

NACC Composite Index

The NACC Composite Index was down this week -7.82%. This was a fairly large drop matching what happened the past two weeks. In essence, it has been a bad year for the index all around.

The NACC Composite Index was down less than the other composites this week. The Dow, NASDAQ and S&P were all down 9.00%, 10.6%, and 8.44%respectively. The NACC Composite was only down 7.82%. I know this is odd because it is like saying, "my date is ugly but of the four, s/he is the least ugly of the bunch."


"Although your company is highly profitable, I wouldn't be much of a consultant if I didn't recommend changes."
-Scott Adams

Picture of the Week

The picture of the bust is from the Hapsburg family museum which has artifacts from ancient Greek, Roman and Egyptian eras. This one head stood out to me because it looked much like my friend, who is pictured underneath the Greek bust. I teased him that his family must have been running around causing trouble and getting their heads plastered even back then.

Ok, he has aged some, (my friend, not the Greek) and his curls are gone, but look closely, I still think there are resemblances.

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To advertise with the NACC, please contact the NACC at:
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Free NACC Memberships Available!

Paul Stockford, Research Director, National Association of Call Centers and Chief Analyst, Saddletree Research,

The NACC is setting aside a limited number of individual memberships that will be offered at no charge to select readers of In Queue. These are full memberships and include all the rights and benefits of individual membership, including:
• All reports issued by the NACC, including the recently published review of 2008 and forecast for 2009;
• Inquiry service;
• Peer networking;
• Job board posting.

A full description of membership benefits can be found at

This is an excellent opportunity to become part of this exciting, growing industry organization with no out-of-pocket expense. It is also an opportunity to support the NACC – the industry’s only true non-profit, University-based membership organization dedicated to the advancement of the contact center industry and the customer care profession.

In order to qualify for one of these free memberships you must meet the following requirements:

1. You must be a contact center supervisor, manager or other executive; and,
2. You must agree to participate in the occasional surveys that we will send out during the course of the year.

If you have participated in any of our past surveys you already know that our surveys tend to be short and to the point. Every one of them was designed to be completed in a minute or two, literally. We avoid open-ended questions and try to gather general information that will benefit all NACC members and readers of the biweekly In Queue newsletter.

As always, the results of the surveys will be published in the newsletter for the purpose of benchmarking your experiences, attitudes and intentions against those of your peers. Surveys will be conducted on-line, not on the phone. Although we will keep track of your participation, you will not be identified as a respondent in any way. Your time commitment will be minimal.

The benefit to us is consistency in the type and number of responses we get to our surveys, which in turn benefits the entire membership. The benefit to you is savings of $500 as well as being able to take advantage of all the benefits of NACC membership.

If you are so lucky to already be a member of the NACC, and meet the criteria listed above and want to participate, we will extend your current membership one year if chosen.

To take advantage of this offer please send an e-mail with the word “Volunteer” in the subject line to Executive Director David Butler at If you have any questions regarding this offer, please contact either David or me.

From the Trenches-"Customer Relationship Management" - dead or alive?

Lori Bocklund, President, Strategic Contact,

Customer Relationship Management is nothing new. Maybe you know it as “customer-focused service.” Chances are you use some form of CRM technology – whether bought, built, or hosted – along with quality monitoring and voice of the customer programs to promote your focus on the customer. Regardless of what you call it, pretty much everyone believes in the concept. But do you really manage relationships and focus on the customer in your center and your company?

I ask the question because four recent experiences make me think we have fallen short. Each instance involved a Fortune 50 company with an immensely recognizable brand. Product troubles, billing and technical problems they created, and problems they didn’t resolve on the first, second, or third contact raised costs, frustrated the customer, and increased the risk of defection. They’re lucky I’m writing an industry-focused article without their names rather than a pointed rant on a public web site. [Some of these are really amazing stories!] And by the way, in each case, the “customer” had a long-standing “relationship” with the company worth hundreds or thousands of dollars a year. My lifetime value to them? Priceless. Yet this seems to go unnoticed and unacknowledged. It certainly didn’t seem to influence the service experience.

As call center professionals, our friends are quick to share their poor customer service stories. They’ve got a legitimate beef – service often stinks. Check out CCPact – – and see what you think. Through a grass roots effort, they’re trying to create a pact between companies and customers to get it right. I love the idea – we need to promote the positive potential of our industry! But we have to get it right on the company side first to enable the customer to come to the interaction with a positive attitude and a willingness to build and sustain a relationship.

So what should you do? Become an advocate of true CRM – not just the technology, but the concept. I’m going to pick up on my last From the Trenches theme to focus on processes, especially end-to-end. Most of the problems I experienced were cross-departmental issues, and the call center takes the hit, both in cost and customer perception. Push a theme across your organization: Consider the customer first. Ideally this exercise is a top down effort, but start grass roots if you must. Use recordings, letters, and the cases where customers resort to the Web 2.0 approach to broadcast their frustration to millions of their closest friends. Use these tools to build awareness across the enterprise. Ensure executives from other areas sit with representatives. Start with awareness and then begin to tackle the changes needed to ensure customer relationship management is alive and well.

60 Ideas in 60 Minutes-Round IX

David L. Butler, Executive Director, National Association of Call Centers,

Paul Stockford, the Director of Research for the NACC, asked me to serve on a panel at the ICCM Toronto call center conference in October this year after serving last year as well. Each panelist was given 1 minute to share their idea for improving call centers before the next panelist's turn. Stockford moderated and kept time for 60 minutes. We have recorded and transcribed the session. To view past rounds, visit our In Queue archive at the following link

David Butler-During some of the sessions here as the people have been presenting instead of listening to the presenter I’ve been watching the audience all of you out there, and I notice whenever the presenter say something you don’t know whatever you sort of look around, you may talk to the person you’re calling next to you, and next thing you know, you know the person’s off in lala land and you’re getting nothing out of it. So I recommend within the organizations ask questions, be inquisitive. It doesn’t actually make you look ignorant, it doesn’t make you look stupid, it actually makes you look interested, informed, it makes you look caring, it makes the fact that you’re trying to absorb knowledge. Ask questions about what’s going on, something you don’t understand, it increases your knowledge base and makes you look like someone who’s trying to learn. For example, Samantha, what is the social network for business, can you define it? How do you actually make any money with it? I have no idea, so I’m asking.

Samantha Kane-It’s interesting because both Paul and I met a gentlemen by the name of Axel Schwarz at a conference in Phoenix this year, he’s a guru of social networking for business. What he demonstrates is that true social networking means not getting something but always giving something and not expecting anything in return Because of that I have experienced venues like LinkedIn where I have found customers from ten years ago that we’re now doing business again. I have found people that will help me with knowledge transfer, I have found contractors who need to fill certain skill sets for our projects that we’re doing, and so everyday I spend 15 minutes on my social networks giving, not taking. It has put me in the right place at the right time for the right reasons.

Barb Bleiler-How many of you make sure to work with your technical testing areas to make sure that that testing area is up to snuff on what your call center is doing and how it works so when there are system updates and changes they make sure they’re testing the right things for you so you’re not impacting production come Monday morning. I think that’s a very critical area you need to have a good tight relationship with, that they have an understanding of how critical it is, of what systems you use, how you use those systems them, intricacies that are involved and that if my system’s not up come Monday morning, you know what, the calls aren’t going to fly. I can’t just put them on hold. And so I ask for you to make sure you have a nice tight bond with your technical areas that help support you in any system upgrades or changes or modifications. Sometimes some simplest little patch upgrades for the newest Microsoft antivirus or such can cause real havoc on your telephony or your workforce management and such. Proactively work with that technical area to make sure they understand what you’re doing, how you’re using it and make sure that they’re testing those applications for you so you’re set and ready to go on Monday morning.

Beel Yaqub-For information management, as Samantha mentioned, there is no shortage of reporting in contact centres. The infrastructure and system design allow us to capture and measure many elements. With that said, the opportunity exists in building analytical capability in order to drive the business, especially in areas where analytics can provide insight to inform the direction for an organization. There was actually a study that was done that showed only 5% of information typically captured within an organization is used to guide decisions, the other 95% is just not being utilized. In order to eliminate hundreds of reports which in many cases forces people to get lost in the details, you can focus your efforts on key performance indicators which allow you to identify business drivers in order to gage your ongoing performance. This monthly report allows for streamlined root cause analysis reporting to identify challenges and opportunities, in addition to providing a clear view of what is being projected through scenario based modeling. The next time you receive a report, ask for insight instead of more spreadsheets.

Vicki -Let's get those agents out of bed and into the seats on Monday morning! We had a question from one of our SWPP members asking for help on this. They were having some real problems with Monday call-ins, so we asked some of our members for some ideas they they've used to encourage better attendance on Monday. Here are some of those -- see if any of these would work for you.
1) Have your scheduled adherence scores give a heavier weighting on Monday, rewarding those who show up. 2) Include some element of attendance and adherence in the performance equation, including performance scheduling if you are using that; if they are sick on Monday then they will get a lower performance score and thus lower on the ranking for scheduling bidding. 3) Turn Mondays into days people want to come to work by furnishing pizza or having special contests or theme days. 4) Have casual dress day on Monday instead of Friday. 5) Do random prize drawing on Mondays and you have to be present to win.

Bill Durr-Many of you probably are not aware of this, but in Brazil there has been a tremendous shock to the contact center industry. The President of Brazil issued a decree which has the force of law for many of the contact centers there. Of the many things the decree establishes is that in the first IVR menu selection there must be an agent choice available. You cannot hide agents down at the bottom of a nested menu. Another thing that was decreed was that if the IVR asks for information, then subsequently the agent is forbidden from asking for that same information. What would we do if that decree pertained to us? Take a look at your IVR menu; if you have hidden your agent selection to try and force people into IVR, you are working against your own best interests in terms of customer service.

NEW Call Center Comics!

If you like this comic and would like to see more write Ozzie at and visit his website at or just click on the comic to take you to his page. The NACC appreciates Ozzie letting us use some of his comics in our newsletter.


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Copyright 2009 National Association of Call Centers

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